U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell on Impeachment CSPAN February 4, 2020 11:25pm-11:43pm EST
mr. president, these past weeks the senate has grappled with this great subject as we ever consider the request from the majority in the house to remove the president. the framers took impeachment extremely seriously. but there's the illusion that they always begin for the right reasons. oleksander hamilton warned the beaman affection would extend his center over the house of representatives at certain seasons. warned that the designing majority in the house might misusech impeachment as ordinary
politics and the tool of last resort. the framers knew impeachment might begin with overheated passions andss short-termhe factionalism. but to do those things couldn't get theal final say. so they placed the ultimate judgment not in the lower chamber but in the senate. they wanted impeachment trials o be fair to both sides into the timely on the determination of the church was. they wanted us to take a deep breath and decide which outcome would reflect the facts to protect the institutions and advance the common good. they call the senate, quote, the most fit depository of this trust and it was well placed. to impeach president trump
didn't begin with the allegati allegation. there was reporting in april of 2016, this is before the president was a nominee, donald trump isn't even a a republican nominee yet, but impeachment is already on the lips of condoms, newspaper editorials,on constitutional scholars, and even a few members of congress. here was the "washington post" headline minutes after the inauguration. the campaign to impeach president trump has begun. the "washington post" says the articles ofot impeachment were t ouen the first ones house democrats introduced. this was a go around number of roughly seven. those previously alleged high crimes and misdemeanors included things like being able to lie to
the press and professional athletes. it insults the intelligence of the american people to pretend this is a solemn process because it withheld foreign aid. why should it be clear literally for years. the position was obvious when they rooted for the mueller investigation to tear the country a apart and they were disappointed when the facts proved otherwise. it was obvious when they soughto impeach the president over and over. here is a real position, es. president, washington democrats think that president trump committed a high crime or misdemeanor the moment he defeated every clinton in the 2016 election. that is the original sin of this
presidency that he won and they lost. ever since, the nation has suffered through the campaign against the norms and institutions from the same people who keep shouting against what they defended. the campaign to the degraded democracy in the times of elections from the same people. we watched a major american political party about the proposition. we think this president is a bull in the china shop so we are going to drive a bulldozer through to get rid of it. this led to the most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential inquiry in american
history s. they spend many months as the special prosecutor's investigation added many more mom is with presiden president o counsel worked literally for years. it takes time to litigate executive privilege which happened at both of those investigations litigating oivilege question is what both parties understood was their responsibility but this time the investigation, no serious and very the house abandoned its own subpoena and they had an arbitrary political deadline to meet. they had to impeach by christm christmas. so in december, house democrats released a framers nightmare,
purely partisan over bipartisan opposition. the articles finally arrived over here in the senate. over the course of the trial, senators have heard sworn video testimony from 13 witnesses over 193 video clips and have entered more than 28,000 pages of documents and evidence as well as 17 depositions and members asked 180 questions. in contrast to the house proceedings, the trial gave both sides a fair platform. the process tracks of the senators adopted for the clinton trial 20 years ago. just as democrats and then
senator joe biden we recognized the tradition supposed no obligations to hear new witness testimony. it isn't necessary to decide the case, let me emphasize the house managers themselves said over and over that additional testimony wasn't necessary to prove their case. they claimed dozens of time it was overwhelming and incontrovertible. that was the house managers saying their evidence was overwhelming and incontrovertible. in reality both house accusations are incoherent.
the obstruction ofs congress charges absurd. house democrathouse democrats ae the speaker invokes the power of impeachmenter the president must do whatever the house demands. no questions asked. invoking executive branch privileges and immunities in response to the house subpoena becomes an impeachable offense. here is how the chairman put it back in october, any action that forces us to litigate or consider litigation will be considered further evidence of obstruction of justice. that, mr. president, is nonsense impeachment. that is nonsense. impeachment isn't a magical constitutional card melts away the separation between the branches of government, the framers didn't leave the houseea
and secret constitutional but everyone somehow overlooked for 230 years. in congress, the executive branch officials with questions or a privilege to sides either reach an accommodation where they go to court, that is the way that it works. so, can you imagine if the shoe were on the other foot how could have responded if the house republicans told president obama we don't want to litigate over the fast and furious, so we will just impeach you. of course that isn't what happened. the republican house litigated for years until they prevailed so much for obstruction of congress.
in the abuse of power charges just as dangerous. they gave into a temptation of every previous house has resisted. they impeached the president without alleging a crime known to the law. to subscribe to the legal theory that the impeachment requires a violation of a criminal statute, but there are reasons why for 230 years every presidential impeachment did in fact allege a criminal violation. the framers explicitly rejected the impeachment for the administration a general charge under english law that basicalls income is bad management and the general vote of no-confidence
except in the most extreme circumstances for the acts that overwhelminglye, shock the national conscience the framers decided presidents must serve at the pleasure of the electorate and not the house majorities. it's one thing to be subordinate to the mall and another to be dependent on the legislative body. house democrats sailed into the new and dangerous waters of the first impeachment unbound by the criminal law and any house that felt they needed to take a radical step over the country the most fair and painstaking process, the most rigorous investigation, the most bipartisan effort, and instead we got the opposite, the exact opposite. housede managers argue the president couldn't have been acting in the national interest because he acted inconsistently
with their own conception of the national interest. let me say that again accident have been acting in the national interest because they were inconsistent with their conception of the national interest. this doesn't even approach the case of the removal in american history. the disagreement whether the exercise of the power was in the national interest the framers gave the nation and ultimate tool for evaluating the president's character and policy positions. they are called elections.
if washington democrats have a case to make, they should go out and make it. let them try to do if they failed to do three years ago. and so, the american people on their vision for the country. i can certainly see why given the remarkable achievements of the past three years, democrats might feel a bit uneasy about defeating him at the ballot box. but they don't get to rip the trust away from the voters because they are afraid they might losee again. they don't get to strike the name from the ballot just because house when house democrats voted, quote, i'm concerned if we don't impeach him, he will get reelected. the impeachment power exists for
a reason. but to the scores doesn't honor the framers designed and it insults thers framers designed e breaking process would yield the 67 votes to cross the rubicon. they don't believe this would be anywhere near enough for the presidential removal in american history or was success beyond the point. either way, mr. president, it's
been on full display but now it is time for him to exit the stage. we have indeed witnessed an abuse of power by just the kind of house majority the framers warned us about. we have studied the mountain of evidence and tomorrow we will vote.. we must vote to reject the house abuse of power, vote to protect the institutions it is over and
the scorching the republic and i urge everyone of the colleagues to cast a vote for the common good clearly require vote to, acquit the president of the structuresg . >> mr. president, the majority leader can come up on the floor and reveal talking points but there are some planes that are irrefutable. this is the first impeachment trial of a president or anybody else that was complete completet have no witnesses and no documents. the american people are just amazed that our public and friends wouldn't even ask the witnesses and documents. i thought the house did a very good job and made a compelling case, but even if you didn't, the idea that that means you shouldn't have witnesses when we are doing something is our best as they fd